(Update: As of May 29, 2019, Endgame is the second highest grossing film of all-time worldwide. You’ve got some ground to make up there, DC)
We’re back again with another entry in our “Let’s Talk About” series. It feels like we’ve done more of these for Marvel movies than anything else. I’m not sure if that’s true or not (Kevin will rake me over the coals for not double-checking), but it probably has something to do with the fact that we started this blog in 2013. The Avengers was almost a year old at that point and the MCU had grown into a juggernaut that owned the box office and earned all the praise from critics. Even Thor: The Dark World did well later that year, scoring the largest opening weekend in November ever for a Disney movie (that I did look up).
If that piece of crap could do so well, the writing was on the wall that there was no stopping the MCU. To be fair, I own that piece of crap and that’s just another sign of how Marvel has us by the balls: I buy all of their movies, even if I don’t like them that much.
Kevin and I have certainly been fans this whole time and that’s why it seemed fitting that he just happened to be in Denver so that we could see Avengers: Endgame together. Marvel’s behemoth of a finale for its Infinity Saga promised to be epic. It promised to resolve years worth of storylines. But did it live up to the ridiculous level of hype surrounding it?
Now that everyone on the planet has checked this movie out, I think we are safe to dive into some spoilers and nitpick the shit out of this thing. Well, not really. We’re nicer than that and have compliments to give out too, but I promise you that nits will be picked.
We did it people. By giving Marvel our hard earned cash to see almost 20 movies over the last decade, featuring all the superheroes that we love and several that we had no clue existed, we aided and abetted the creation of an unstoppable juggernaut. With Avengers: Infinity War being released in a few short days after a decade of building towards Thanos’ showdown with the galaxy’s mightiest heroes, that train is not slowing down anytime soon.
But it hasn’t all been the smoothest journey through this shared universe. There are more than a few stops along the way that, if not for having the Marvel Studios banner safeguarding them from irrelevance, would’ve been immediately cast out and forgotten. I suppose that’s understandable. When you have 18 at-bats, you’re probably not going to knock it out of the park each time. Part three of this post will feature the eight Marvel films that I consider to be home runs, so by baseball standards the MCU has been more than cleaning up at the plate.
However, we still have to talk about the times when they struck out, grounded into a double play or popped out to the catcher (which as a former little leaguer, I always hated more than striking out). To be clear, I’m not referring to this first group of films as “The Also Rans” because I think they suck. While there will be a couple of rants and plenty of criticism, you can still watch most of these movies and be entertained. I just never feel a strong desire to do so outside of taking on another marathon of all the MCU films (which is getting very long, by the way) and one of them just happens to be the next one on the list.
But since these are my opinions and I may very well just be a cynical bastard, I’m including some feedback from both Kevin and my girlfriend, Natalie. If I’m being too hard on any of these films, they’ll let you know about it.
You ever know someone who seems to have everything work out for them? My buddy Nick is like that when it comes to fantasy football. He’s won our league the last two years and could very well come out on top again this season, but the surprise is no longer the fact that he’s successful. The rest of us are used to that, whether we like it or not. What really perplexes us is how he achieves that success. He’s drafted a team that has won a championship. He’s had one autodrafted for him that won a championship. Certain players will perform below expectations on our teams and then experience a career renaissance on his. If any of us try to emulate what he does in the hope of reaping similar rewards, it blows up in our face.
What I’m getting at is that Nick is the Marvel Studios of our fantasy league: he is untouchable and seemingly unstoppable.
Look no further than Dr. Strange, the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that absolutely would not work anywhere else, and yet there it is making more money and garnering more acclaim for a studio that could go to the bathroom and poop out a successful film. Again, the surprising thing isn’t that a good Dr. Strange movie exists. It’s that it exists and none of us are shocked to see it happen.
(In case you were wondering, my fantasy team is more like the DC Cinematic Universe: it looks good on paper but no one else is ever impressed by it and it winds up tanking every year)